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What is a Fabric Shaver?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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A fabric shaver is a handheld tool that resembles an electric razor. You simply “shave” the fabric, by turning the unit on and running it over the surface. This tool will remove pilling as well as small amounts of lint, thread, and pet hair, giving your clothing a fresher look and feel.

You can usually find this tool, also known as a lint shaver, for a reasonable price at your favorite retailer or drug store. Most include batteries, although with some models you will need to supply your own.

A fabric shaver would also make a great gift for an executive who likes to keep clothing looking new, for a “fashion plate” friend, for a seamstress, or for anyone else. We all wear clothes and we all want to look good in them. You might want to pick up one for yourself and grab some extras to give as gifts or to keep in other locations. Keep one at the office or stash one in your garment bag, suitcase, or overnight bag, when traveling.

You might also want to keep a fabric shaver in your car or other vehicle. It works great to help keep upholstery looking like new. The friction caused by sliding in and out of seats can create pilling, which can cause the interior to look worn and untidy. Besides keeping up the interior of your vehicle, you’ll also have the fabric shaver handy if you need it for your clothing or wool coat in case you overlooked a spot.

You can also use these tools around the house, to keep furnishings looking good. Run it over accent pillows and throws, tablecloths and runners, or seat cushions on chairs and sofas, before guests arrive. This is an especially good idea if you have pets, as pet hair tends to stick to people’s clothing and could cause embarrassment. A fabric shaver is also useful for keeping high quality rugs and handmade carpets in good condition.

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Discussion Comments

By ScoobyDoo — On Sep 25, 2013

Re: Acrylic sweaters are much more likely to pill than others...

I have beautiful cashmere sweaters that pill like crazy. Even expensive things pill. I get rid of my pills with a Gleener. It does not have batteries and has different edges for different types of fabric. And you won't make a hole.

By TunaLine — On Aug 07, 2010

You do have to be careful not to overdo it with a sweater shaver though -- if you aren't careful, you might weaken the fabric or even make a hole.

My brother had a sweater that he loved, but always got pills. He would use an old-fashioned fabric shaver on it again and again, until he finally shaved right through the sleeve!

By Planch — On Aug 07, 2010

I love my fabric and lint shaver -- it is the best for getting pet hair off of my couch cushions.

They are also really good for when you need to trim the floor mats of your car.

By FirstViolin — On Aug 07, 2010

Before you consider investing in an electric fabric shaver because your sweaters get pills, you may want to just choose to buy higher quality sweaters.

Acrylic sweaters are much more likely to pill than others, especially as you wear for a longer time and wash them more.

Although fabric shavers can help with these types of items, eventually they're just going to pill again, so if it's that much of a concern you can consider buying items made from natural fibers.

By anon43321 — On Aug 27, 2009

I have found that a gentle rub with a fine sandpaper also can remove disgusting pills from clothing or sheets.

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